As of 7 February 2021, the number of people killed in the conflict in Cameroon stands at over 20,000. With the International Community maintaining a kind of deliberate and worrying silence, it is impossible to imagine the end of this conflict.
The 4 February 2021 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Cameroon army of carrying out the atrocities in Mautu on 10 January 2021.
The report was irrefutable and stated “Army soldiers killed at least nine civilians in Cameroon’s Anglophone South-West region, on January 10, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today.
“The dead included a woman and a child, and four civilians were injured. The soldiers also looted scores of homes and threatened residents,” the report said.
The report was damning and embarrassing to the Yaounde regime as attacks on civilians, especially women and children are becoming rampant and these brutalities are a pattern that goes back over four years.
Over 421 villages have been burned down by the army in Cameroon. The arrest, detention, and execution of suspected separatists and their sympathizers are rampant, and the end is not nigh.
According to Rights groups in Cameroon, the Saturday, January 23, 2021 killing of four minors in Bamenda took the total number of unprovoked executions by the army to 133 in 2021.
These attacks on women and children date as far back as 2018 when Mrs. Susan Ndi and Ms. Gladys Ngwesang both of Bali, were accused of running errands and supplying food to separatists.
Their arrest and subsequent disappearance, like hundreds of such cases, was suppressed and the government of Cameroon has made no official statement ever since.
Last week’s report from HRW is timely but the local population must be asking what next.
A community leader in Bamenda who elected anonymity furthered that “when in 2018 Ma Gla and Ma Suzzy were abducted under false charges of aiding Amba Boys, we raised an alarm and pushed for their immediate release, but people didn’t take us seriously. Now, that inaction from us emboldened the army.”
With the Biden administration set to announce that the US will return to the UN Human Rights Council to fight injustice and tyranny around the world, many rights groups and activists are hoping that the end of these executions against civilians, women and children in Cameroon might just be around the corner.
By Chi Prudence Asong with files from Bamenda